Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: June 23, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:29 pm

Owners want right of first refusal free agents?

Posted by Will Brinson

It's beginning to seem likely -- or at least reports make it seem likely -- that players with four years of service time who were previously restricted free agents (RFAs) will, if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, become unrestricted free agents (UFAs).

If this happens, there will be an additional 500 or so people added to a free-agent class that will suddenly be bursting with talent. Unless the owners are able to convince the players to give them several "right-of-first-refusal" options on UFAs.

Which is what they're trying to do, according to Chris Mortensen, who told Howard Balzer of 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis that "owners are asking that teams be able to have three or four right-of-first-refusals this year on UFAs."

What this would mean is that while guys like DeAngelo Williams of the Panthers would be able to negotiate with other teams, their original teams would have the right to match the highest offer those players got on the open market.

But it would also let teams determine the market ... without actually having to make an offer to their players.

Such speculation is probably fruitless, however, because there's little chance that the players would agree to creating these de facto franchise tags that might limit a large number of players' ability to cash in on their unrestricted free agent status.

Plus, if owners didn't see a reversion to free agency rules that existed before 2010 -- when a new CBA was negotiated -- happening from the get-go, it's hard to fathom what they were expecting to see.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 5:37 pm

Jake Delhomme in demand as QB mentor?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

For having settled comfortably into the twilight of his career, quarterback Jake Delhomme sure is popular. Pretty much everybody was shocked when the Browns paid Delhomme $7 million to be their starter in 2010. Injuries and lack of ability eventually landed him on the bench, where he was much more valuable as rookie Colt McCoy's mentor.

And it's his relationship with young quarterbacks that makes Delhomme marketable, even after his quarterbackin' skills have long since deserted him. The Denver Post's Mike Klis suggested last week that Delhomme would be a great fit with the Broncos and Tim Tebow.

Upon hearing that Delhomme's days in Cleveland could be numbered, former Panthers teammate Ryan Kalil took to Twitter to make the case that Carolina should re-sign him.

“Dear Marty Hurney, (slow chant) bring him back..bring him back..bring him back…BRING HIM BACK!” Kalil continued. “‘We’ve got to talk about where we want to head as far as the veteran back up is concerned.’ – Ron Rivera #BringJakeBack”

The Charlotte Observer's Darin Grantt notes that "Kalil jokes around a lot," before adding: "But if Delhomme was available, there would be a groundswell in the locker room to bring him back to Charlotte."

The lesson: don't burn bridges on your way out the door.

Delhomme makes sense in Carolina. The Panther drafted Cam Newton and he's going to need help transitioning to the NFL (while we're on the subject, Jimmy Clausen could use a confidant, too). Delhomme shows a knack for working with inexperienced, wide-eyes QBs, and he doesn't seem preoccupied with ever being a starter again. Basically, he's a coach who gets to wear a uniform on Sundays.

Rotoworld warns that Delhomme makes sense as a mentor, "but there's no way they could put him on the field." Well, they could. Not because Delhomme should be out there, but it's not like we're talking about the New England Patriots. The Panthers had the first overall pick for a reason: they were 2-14 in 2010. If, god forbid, Clausen and Newton get hurt and Delhomme has to play for a few weeks, what's the worst that can happen? Carolina loses two or three games? Big whoop -- they had two separate five-game losing streaks last year.

On the other hand, if Delhomme's presence accelerates Newton's growth as an NFL quarterback, then the growing pains will be worth it.

Then again, if Delhomme is the missing piece to a successful offense, the Browns not only should keep him, they should give him a raise.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 7:45 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:28 am

Steve Smith calls Newton, Rivera 'outstanding'

Posted by Will Brinson

Lost in all the hubbub surrounding the likely departure of Steve Smith from Carolina is the fact that nothing bad has been said between the two parties.

In fact, it's quite the opposite -- Smith and the Panthers have been very pleasant about their relationship. Smith continued that offseason tradition on Monday, when he referred to Carolina's rookie quarterback Cam Newton as "outstanding."

"The drafting of Cam is outstanding," Smith said. "Met with him a few times and very much impressed by Cam."

This is in stark contrast to how Smith seemed to view Jimmy Clausen, last year's rookie quarterback, with whom Smith seemed to often grow frustrated. (He wasn't alone; ask any Panthers fan.)

But it's also the word Smith used to describe head coach Ron Rivera, who heretofore hasn't been doing Smith any favors by seeming less than optimistic about Smith returning to Charlotte.

"When I met Ron I would say they maybe sold him short. He's great, a great guy," Smith said. "My first meeting with him was pretty good, it was outstanding. I walked away very impressed."
Smith's Saga in Charlotte

Now, again, all parties have been very amicable during the offseason, although Smith's house is up for sale -- later with a reduced price -- and Smith all but shipped out of Charlotte.

It's probably too much to expect that the sides will be on the same page when/if the season starts, and it's more than likely that Smith ends up going somewhere else.

But it's still worth noting that nothing mean has been said quite yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:57 pm

Smith out of Carolina 'not a foregone conclusion'

Posted by Will Brinson

We've covered at fairly decent length the saga of Steve Smith and the inevitable conclusion of him playing football somewhere other than Carolina next season. (The hottest rumor? The Chargers.)

But maybe we're all just jumping on our conclusion mats a bit early; Panthers coach Ron Rivera says, according to Joe Pearson of the Charlotte Observer, it's "not a foregone conclusion" that Smith is headed out of town next year.

"We had a great conversation. He was honest. He was forthright," Rivera said. "He did kind of leave me at a point where I was wondering exactly where does he want to go with this? I will wait until we sit down and talk when the time comes."

Hmmm. That last little bit doesn't sound quite as sure as the "not a foregone conclusion" part.

In fact, Rivera almost seems to be using the phrase as a nice way of saying "It's only a 99-percent chance that he's gone" rather than advising people to assume that Smith will leave.
Smith's Saga in Charlotte

He has to do that though, because Smith's under contract through the 2012 season, and if it's painfully obvious that he both sides want him gone, it's much more difficult to get good value in a trade.

That being said, there are plenty of teams who could use Smith's talent and unique skillset -- the Chargers actually really stand out in that category -- and once the lockout's lifted, it sure does seem like Smith will essentially be considered in the same category as "free agents."

He just has the added bonus of not needing a new contract before the season starts.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 10:08 pm

Goodell optimistic about direction of labor talks

Roger Goodell said he's optimistic about the labor talks (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person caught up with commissioner Roger Goodell today at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., and perhaps predictably Goodell said he’s optimistic about the latest (not-so-secret!) labor talks.

Goodell was coming off three days of meetings with the NFLPA in Chicago, and the first question he took during a fan forum was from a soldier who couldn’t understand why the league had such a tough time splitting $9 billion.

He gave his typical answer about protecting the game and blah, blah, blah (he probably threw something in there about how this can’t be solved through litigation), but Goodell later said he was confident the two sides were on the right track to finding a lockout solution (in case you need a timeline to what's been happening, we've got you covered).

"I think both sides want to continue the dialogue, and I think that's a positive thing," Goodell said, via Person. "The importance is to have the principles talk. That's what we were interested in doing is having the owners and the players talk to one another. That was accomplished this week."

And since Person covers the Panthers, he couldn’t resist giving a little Carolina quarterback news, via coach Ron Rivera.

With the Panthers needing to add a veteran QB to help the progress of No. 1 pick Cam Newton (and Jimmy Clausen, I suppose), Rivera said that person could be former Panthers starter Matt Moore.

"Here's a guy that was slated to have a good opportunity to be the starter," Rivera said. "And unfortunately, things didn't work out for him. So we've got to look at that as well when we get to that point."

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:54 am

Rivers on Steve Smith rumors: 'Bring him on'

Posted by Will Brinson

Steve Smith is considered done in Carolina. Even though he hasn't said he wants to be traded, and even though he's handling things with the Panthers in a classy way, everyone expects him to move on in 2011.

One of the rumored landing spots that Smith would prefer is in San Diego -- he's a California guy, the Chargers are good and he wouldn't be unwelcome.

"Bring him on," Bolts QB Philip Rivers said on Rome Is Burning Wednesday. "Hey, we've got a great deal of weapons here. I certainly appreciate each and every one of them. Any time you can add a guy of that caliber, I'm all for it."

The Chargers do have a pile of weapons, but as 2010 taught us, injuries and holdouts can quickly take a toll on the old depth chart.

Starting the year off with Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates is ridiculous.

Ending the year with Legedu Naanee, Seyi Ajirotutu, and Randy McMichael is even more ridiculous.

Smith might be older at this stage of his career, but he's still got plenty of home-run pop. Plus, he's been working in a fairly constricted Panthers offense with lower-end quarterbacks his entire career.

If Norv Turner got a hold of his abilities and paired it with Rivers' arm and Jackson and Gates to keep opposing defenses at bay, it's possible Smith could post the best numbers of his career.

Which is probably why Rivers was smiling so much when talking about the rumors that have Smith heading out west.

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 10:44 am

Newton joining Panthers teammates in workouts

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton's cool new photos are awesome enough to warrant a spot as my Twitter avatar right now. However, the Panthers top pick isn't letting that go to his head and, fortunately, is planning on joining his teammates in voluntary workouts.

The informal sessions are expected to begin next week in Charlotte, and Newton will be there along with his teammates. Interestingly though -- per Joe Pearson of the Charlotte Observer -- it appears his two agents, Tony Paige and Bus Cook, are a little at odds as to whether or not the No. 1 overall should be working out sans contract.

"When you're a rookie, especially as a quarterback, it's good to work on timing. But (it's) mainly getting around your teammates," Paige said. "I think Cam is excited about getting to know his teammates. Typically by now, he would know everybody."

Cook took a much different tone.

"I know it's non-contact and all that, but hypothetically if they get hurt - especially if it's season-ending or career-ending ... it could have a big impact," Cook said.

Yes it could. Like, for instance, having everyone in the South who cares about pro football just giving up and going back to rooting for the Redskins or Falcons.

It would also make Newton the single-biggest bust in the history of the NFL Draft, which is saying something.

But despite all of those concerns, the actual probability of Newton suffering a career-ending injury is pretty low. And certainly low enough to warrant Newton getting in some work with his teammates and eliminating any perception that he might be a diva who's more concerned with endorsements, etc., than he is with making an immediate impact as a football player.

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 12:44 pm

Video: Cam Newton sings Justin Bieber's 'Baby'

Posted by Will Brinson

I'm not entirely sure why Cam Newton's dominating the headlines on this sleepy NFL Monday, but, hey, whatever -- any time you can get video of the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick singing Justin Bieber's "Baby" you take it and run with it.

Newton was apparently singing the song during the NFLPA's "Rookie Premiere" event that was designed to produce some shots for Topps trading cards.

And yeah, it's probably smart that Newton stick to learning his new playbook and making money on the football field.

Although if anything, this could help Newton shed that whole "entertainer and icon" label.

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